The Grand Arena Guide
Hello everyone! It’s been four months since this guide originally came out so time for an update. This guide has been written in the context of my own Grand Arena bracket which is currently around 4.5m GP. If you’re sitting at a GP much lower than this, take this guide as a glance into the future and use it as a guideline for which teams to improve and which to stop investing in.
April 4th update: Added Darth Revan, Carth, Droids and Jango to the teams. Updated expected defense and counters. Rewritten most team descriptions.
- Overview of Teams
- Optimizing Your Roster
In addition, I have added a second article on the Grand Arena focusing on 3v3 teams & strategy.
Overview of Teams:
In the rest of the guide I will use shorthand and just so everyone knows what I mean, I will give the full team descriptions here. Note that the first hero named will always be the leader and the link will go to that leader’s Best Mods page here on Gaming-fans.com.
Darth Revan: Darth Revan, Bastila Shan (Fallen), HK-47, Sith Trooper, Sith Assassin. There are lots of variations of this team so I went with the Meta Report from swgoh.gg for an empirical answer on which version to run. The top performing team currently actually includes Mother Talzin and Nightsister Zombie but since that wrecks our Nightsister team and Grand Arena is all about efficiency I chose to go with the second best version for this guide.
Carth: Carth Onasi, Mission Vao, Zaalbar, Juhani, Canderous Ordo. This team is all about landing dots and calling assists. As such, its main counters will utilize Tenacity Up and/or Daze. Rex, Ewoks, and Bastila Shan are the main teams to take these guys out. On offense their favorite snack is Nightsisters if you have Carth’s zeta which neuters Plague. This zeta is also just good in general to score some extra banners for full health and protection.
Droids: General Grievous, B2 Super Battle Droid, B1 Battle Droid, IG-88, Jawa Engineer. The best use for the clankers has not really been figured out yet. Once optimized they can take out both Revans as well as many other top tier teams. I went with the budget version here however which usually does fine for me on defense. CLS and Mother Talzin are this teams biggest counters so make sure to save these teams for that reason if you notice your opponent is a big droid fan.
Jango: Jango Fett, Boba Fett, Bossk, Dengar, Zam Wessell. It took him a while but Jango has finally established a name for himself and deserved a solid place in this guide and in our hearts. The main things he brings to the table are his speed buff and his ability to circumvent tanks. Combined with the resurrection prevention this team has, they are an excellent counter to Nightsisters. What makes them even more interesting is that they can take out Darth Revan. Make sure you come prepared though when you try this at home. Beating Darth Revan requires at least three of the hunters to outspeed him in a specific turn order such as Zam>Bossk>Jango>Boba>DR.
Revan: Jedi Knight Revan, Grand Master Yoda, General Kenobi, Jolee Bindo, Plo Koon. Still a force to be reckoned with, and for most people still an unpassable barrier. Since this team still beats anything on offense, bar some specific Darth Revan setups, I found that most people prefer to hold it back. If you do want to set it on defense I believe it’s best to run it without Bastila Shan and with either Plo Koon, Aayla Secura or any other Jedi you happen to have geared up. The team becomes quite a bit weaker this way but if you have a strong opponent he will beat it either way and this way you leave yourself a strong extra team.
Traya: Darth Traya, Darth Sion, Darth Nihilus, Sith Trooper, Count Dooku. The fourth and fifth members of this team are highly flexible. Sith Trooper and Count Dooku are popular choices for defense as they are silver bullets against some popular counters. Sith trooper holds the door against Bastila teams and Count Dooku throws a wrench into any Magmatrooper shenanigans. On offense though, and specifically when fighting Revan, replace these two guys with Bastila Shan (Fallen) and Grand Admiral Thrawn.
zKru: Kylo Ren (Unmasked), Kylo Ren, First Order Officer, First Order Executioner, First Order Stormtrooper. This composition is pretty much set in stone. Other First Order members will be slight to big downgrades depending who they replace. Occasionally a zeta’d Barriss Offee is seen infiltrating the ranks of the order. With the departure of zFinn and the arrival of Murderbears as their main counter, I think this is a fantastic use of the Mirialan if you have her.
zBossk: Bossk, Boba Fett, Dengar, Greedo, Zam Wesell. The last two slots again are highly flexible. The ability to spread aoe debuffs is very valuable under Bossk lead as every debuff gained or resisted by enemies will give all your bounty hunters 5% health and protection back. Jango Fett’s inclusion would actually be an upgrade to this team but he functions even better as the leader of a secondary bounty hunter team provided you have that luxury.
CLS: Commander Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2-D2, C3-PO. Since I missed the boat on Revan the first time around, I had to rely on this mothly crew to climb in arena for months. It wasn’t easy but I got it to work to a close to 100% success rate. With great mods and enough practice they can take out the strongest Revan out there but a safer bet is to use them against Traya which this team steamrolls. Whatever you do, stay away from Nightsisters.
Qi’ra: Qi’ra, L3-37, Vandor Chewbacca, Young Lando Calrissian, Enfys Nest. This team has been on the rise for a while but lack of utility beyond Territory Wars (and now Grand Arena) still makes it a bit of a rare sight outside of whale territory. Even when you have some of these guys at lower gear level it is still a pain to beat successfully if only for the synergy between Qi’ra’s leadership and Enfys Nest. Young Lando helps spread the Prepared buff and hands out some annoying stealth but he is not mandatory by any means. Viable alternatives are Young Han, Zaalbar, Captain Han Solo or any other scoundrel really.
NestSisters: Asajj Ventress, Mother Talzin, Old Daka, Nightsister Zombie, Enfys Nest. As this team has grown in popularity I don’t think it’s a great idea to put it on defense anymore. Troopers, Carth and Traya all beat it. If your opponent doesn’t have strong Carth or Trooper teams however it might still be worth putting the sisters on defense, especially in a back territory. That way if your opponent sets their Traya on defense or has used it on something else already, he or she is pretty much screwed.
Troopers: General Veers, Colonel Starck, Death trooper, Range Trooper, Snowtrooper. Once again a flexible team. Shoretrooper is a common inclusion as is Grand Admiral Thrawn as leader, although I prefer the raw power of the suggested lineup. It’s essential to have Starck to be first to act as his ability to give buffs to his allies will give them all 20% turn meter thanks to General Veers’ unique ability. Range Trooper really adds a new level of power to this team. I would even say he is mandatory if you want to take out any serious teams. He also makes the Phase 6 Special Mission in Dark Side Territory Battles a breeze.
zBastila: Bastila Shan, Mace Windu, Hermit Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ezra Bridger. Other than Revan, Traya and Nightsisters this team makes quick work of anything else out there. Since I put my best Jedi under Revan, I went with leftovers here. Basically there are four clear choices that already make this a great team. Mace Windu is the odd one out as he is a VERY bad character. He does have two things going for him though. Since he is tagged as a tank, he will start the battle with taunt under Bastila Shans leadership. He also has a dispel ability but that’s where his contribution comes to a full stop. He’s tanky and does no damage. I’d suggest to give him zero speed from mods as his value drops considerably once his initial taunt wears off.
Rex: CT-7567 “Rex”, Wampa, Chirrut Imwe, Baze Malbus, Captain Han Solo. A variation of the old triple-cleanse meta that works great on offense as well as defense, especially against teams with area of effect damage and teams that crit a lot but not very hard, such as Nightsisters, Bounty hunters, zKru, Qi’ra, Carth teams and non-Traya, non-Darth Revan Sith and Empire teams.
RJT: Rey (Jedi Training), BB-8, R2-D2, Resistance Trooper, Chopper. Only JTR herself and BB-8 are hard requirements to play this team. R2-D2 might be more needed by CLS but other droids and resistance will usually work just fine, depending on how strong your opponent is.
Ewoks: Chief Chirpa, Ewok Elder, Logray, Paploo, Wicket. More popularly known as Murder Bears, these little guys have been the hot topic lately and I strongly suggest looking up one of the in-depth guides for all the ins and outs that make this team tick. When it comes to The Grand Arena, these cuddlies can literally take out any team out there depending how much effort you put into them. I would suggest murdering easy teams and slowly work your way up as you get the hang of them. Their specialty is taking out Kylo Ren Unmasked and his band of bandits.
As counter-intuitive as it may seem to start by thinking about Offense before Defense, I think it’s crucial to do so and this is in fact the most important thing I want you to remember out of this whole guide.
Given equal rosters, each player will always be able to go for the full clear if they want to. The key to this whole game mode is to figure out how to do so in the most efficient way. Setting your best teams on defense mindlessly is a sure way to lose as your opponent will likely expect those teams and save efficient counters for them while you may lack the tools to plow through his defense the same way.
This brings me to the big question: Which defensive teams should I expect? Well this will depend completely on your opponent’s roster but in general, I made for myself the following list:
Keep in mind, this is far from a complete list of playable teams. It simply consists of the teams I personally see as the toughest and most popular ones used on defense in Territory Wars.
As discussed in the previous section, the way I think you should set your defense is to pick your offense first and use whatever you have left to put on defense. In my case:
- Qi’ra z
Aside from picking the teams, positioning also plays a big role. You’ll generally want to hide your teams that have few counters, such as Nightsisters and put the more obscure teams like Droids or Qi’ra that don’t have a clear cut answer in the front.
Ships: Just like in the ground battles, I believe it’s imperative that you save a fleet that can take out your opponent’s best defensive option. In other words make sure you can deal with Han’s Millennium Falcon under Home One. In most cases this will come down to saving your own Home One fleet. This fleet is currently nigh unbeatable by other fleets so make sure to get the MilF when she returns. Five stars is enough.
Optimizing your roster: There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the form in which the Grand Arena has hit us has benefitted the Squad Arena/Territory War minded people in a big way. All of the collectors and those who have been more focused on raids and/or ships have started off facing an uphill battle and I’m afraid to say I have no quick fix for you to overcome this disadvantage. What I can help you with is offering some guidance on how to gradually improve your roster.
- Think in teams, and more specifically, counters
What I mean in #1 is that you’re going to have to finish up your teams and get them battle-ready. I see so many rosters with a maxed CLS, maxed Han Solo but only a gear 6 Chewbacca for example. Chewie hasn’t really been a gamechanger since his release but painting this wookie yellow will propel your rebels from Phoenix-level to being able to take out Traya or even Revan if you add C-3PO. This brings me to the second part of the bullet, think in counters. Make a list for yourself just like I did in this guide of the six or seven teams you would hate to face and work on having counters ready to beat all of them. As long as you can take out all enemy teams, you can win the match even if your opponent has 14 strong teams versus your 7. Make offense a priority. Once you’re happy with your counter teams, start investing in your defense.
Mods! It has been repeated ad nauseam and I’m making it ad nauseam plus one. I would have liked to start this section with “We all know how important mods are…” but what I’m seeing in GA so far is that we really don’t. The importance of mods can not be overstated and even if you think you’re investing a lot in them, invest more! Not only is there a direct relation between the quality of a player’s mods and his arena rank and PvE performance. Now with Grand Arena, investing in mods is almost like cheating the system since the match making doesn’t care whether a player has all 25-speed mods or all 0-speed ones. If you invest let’s say 20,000 crystals into gear, yes your toons will be a lot stronger but it will show in your galactic power and you will start facing stronger opponents. If you invest those 20,000 crystals in mods instead, your GP will stay the same but the actual strength of your teams will rise dramatically.
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Last Update: April 5, 2019